Trying a new Paella Seasoning

I have made my version of paella for many years. Well maybe I should call it a Spanish inspired rice dish, rather than paella.

Recently I have been using a jar of paella paste from Waitrose when cooking paella, however it looks like they have stopped selling it. M&S have stopped selling their paste as well, and Tesco haven’t sold their paella seasoning for a couple of years now. I wouldn’t buy the Schwartz paella seasoning as it uses turmeric rather than saffron. I have been known to creating my own “seasoning” using saffron and I did think I would have to go down that road. It was suggested to me to look on Amazon, so I did, and found some paella seasoning. I ordered some. The Carmencita Paellero Paella Spice Mix is according to the description the number one selling spice mix in Spain.

I used it when cooking a paella and was pleased with the end result. It looked excellent.

It also tasted great when we had it with our New Year fish supper. It is something I would use again and will order more once I run out.

New Year Fish Supper

An annual tradition in our house is to have a fish supper on New Year’s Eve. This year we had a great selection of fish and seafood.

I bought some prosecco & lemon butter lobster tails from Aldi, these were rather good.

I made some crispy squid, using some fresh squid, which I then coated in seasoned flour and fried in oil. A combination of a crisp crunchy coating and sweet tender squid.

I also cooked some queen scallops, simply pan fried in butter.

I did baked lemon salmon fillets in the oven.

The prawns were cooked in a pan with herbs and butter.

All served with homemade paella.

Paella

Dare I call this dish paella? Well this Spanish inspired rice dish is a regular dish in our house.

I diced a red onion, red pepper and mushrooms. In a hot large frying pan, I put some olive oil and I cooked off some smoked pancetta bacon. 

I then added the diced onion and pepper. When this was softened, I added 250g of paella rice. I ensured that this was then coated with the peppers and onions in the pan. I let this cook for a minute or so before adding a jar of paella paste from Waitrose. 

After stirring in the paste I added some chicken stock. Stirred once and left it to cook.

Before serving I added some cooked sliced chorizo and chunks of lemon.

I served it with some pan fried tuna steaks.

Preparado paella con caldo

On holiday in Spain recently I picked up this Alteza pack from the freezer at Dialprix.

Preparado paella alteza con caldo

I thought it was frozen paella. It wasn’t, it was a paella mix, with the ingredients for paella and included broth, but no rice!

With a small self-catering kitchen I had a go though, using some cooked long grain rice, instead of proper paella rice.

The mix was defrosted in the fridge and then cooked in a pan, before adding the rice and the broth and cooking for a little longer.

Preparado paella con caldo

Obviously if I could have used proper rice, it probably would have been better. It was certainly interesting, but even though I didn’t cook it for as long as indicated on the instructions, I still think the seafood was overcooked.

Squid Ink Paella

When I was down in Ealing at La Rueda Tapas Bar in Ealing I was initially tempted by the paella choices they had, including a squid ink paella. In the end we had tapas. I would have liked to try a squid ink paella.

Recently I was working in Bristol, and went for a walk at lunchtime with a plan on getting something to eat. It was a Thursday so I headed out to the Temple Quay Market. Didn’t really fancy anything from the market, so I headed to the St Nicholas Market. It was rather busy. In the end I headed down towards La Lola for some squid or paella.

I was impressed to see that La Lola have expanded their menu and one of the choices was a squid ink paella. Well it was bit of a no-brainer, so I decided to try out their dish.

As with previous visits, I was given a warm welcome, I ordered my paella and took a seat. It arrived quite quickly, with some aioli and a slice of lemon.

You have to say that the dish is very black, very black indeed.

I have to say that it doesn’t look that appetising, however it was very tasty. There was squid and prawns in the rice.

I am not sure I would have it again, but I am glad I tried it and it was good.

Paella problem

Authentic “Paella"

Made a paella this evening, using my usual technique, but when we came to eat it, it didn’t taste quite right. Couldn’t quite put my finger on it and then I remembered that I hadn’t added any stock to the dish. I had just used some water. I was quite surprised by how much the stock added, and how different the paella was when it was missing.

Rice with Chorizo

I diced a red onion and a red pepper. 

In a hot large frying pan, I put some olive oil and I cooked off some smoked pancetta bacon. 

I then added the diced onion and pepper. When this was softened, I added 250g of paella rice. I ensured that this was then coated with the peppers and onions in the pan. I let this cook for a minute or so before adding a jar of paella paste from Waitrose. 

After stirring in the paste I added some chicken stock. Stirred once and left it to cook.

Before serving I added some chopped fresh parsley and some cooked sliced chorizo.

Authentic “Paella”

Having upset Spain with my last paella, sorry Spanish inspired rice dish, I decided that the next time I cooked a Spanish inspired rice dish I would follow (at least) some of the unwritten rules of paella.

The end result I think looked quite authentic.

Authentic “Paella"

In preparation I diced a red onion, yellow pepper, and red pepper. 

In a hot large frying pan, I put some olive oil and I cooked off some smoked pancetta bacon. This isn’t in the list of ingredients in the unwritten rules of paella, so broke one rule there.

I then added the diced onion and pepper. When this was softened, I added 250g of paella rice. I ensured that this was then coated with the peppers and onions in the pan. I let this cook for a minute or so before adding a jar of paella paste from Waitrose. So another rule broken.

After stirring in the paste I added some chicken stock. Stirred once and left it to cook.

No prawns, no chorizo, just rice. Also no chicken either!

The unwritten rules of paella

paella

The Guardian reports on how researchers in Valencia have decided what ten ingredients you can use in paella are.

The ten permitted ingredients are: rice, water, olive oil, salt, saffron, tomato, flat green beans, lima beans, chicken and rabbit. 

Note that there is no fish or shellfish. Ever!

The research was carried out by social scientists at the Universidad Católica de Valencia at the instigation of local chef Rafael Vidal. The researchers questioned 400 amateur chefs aged over 50 from 266 Valencian villages.

Now I like making paella inspired rice dishes that include chorizo and seafood, even though this sometimes upsets Spaniards.

The article talks about how the valencianos believe that only they know how to make paella.  

To people in Valencia, their version of paella is the version and nothing else is worthy of the name. 

As for other kinds of paella they think this isn’t paella.

The typical seafood paella encountered elsewhere in Spain is generally dismissed by valencianos as arroz con cosas (rice with things).

So I cook rice with things….

Not very impressed

Noticed on the Twitter that my tweet of my Instagram photo of my rice dish had been noticed by quite a few people from Spain. They were, to say the least, not very impressed.

Best comment so far…

“I have seen rice that would make a goat vomit.”

This one made me chuckle

“if it doesn’t have pineapple, it’s not paella”